When Fenty Beauty by Rihanna launched in 2017, it included several shades of the Match Stix Skinsticks in two finishes- matte and shimmer. Flash forward three years and Fenty Beauty now offers their Match Stix in a whopping thirty-six shades! These Skinsticks can be purchased individually or in trios (which saves some cash overall) and there exists a Skinstick to conceal, contour, highlight and blush every face in every shade. Is the sheer number of available options an indicator that these are really that good, or does the quantity outweigh quality?
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Tested July 2020
I purchased my Match Stix Matte Skinstick at a Sephora in Hollywood while visiting Liz for my birthday. At that time, Fenty Beauty had just launched new shades and I was intrigued by the Match Stix’s ability to magnetically cling together. All of the sticks are magnetized and attach to one another as well as to the specially designed, travel size brush for application on the go. (As of this article, there are now three different styles of brush: contour and concealer, highlight and touch up. All three brushes twist up but vary in bristle length and density.) I opted not to buy a brush and to only try a single shade to test the formula before investing too much; here’s what happened.
Prior to purchasing a Matte Skinstick, I dabbled in contouring my face but only ever used bronzer; more often than not, I ended up looking tan but not chiseled. After being disappointed with these results, I did some research (aka I watched several YouTube tutorials) and decided I needed to try a cooler, more ashy product. I considered the Kat Von D Shade + Light Palette but ultimately decided $49.50 was too much to spend on a bulky palette when all I really needed was a contour shade. Liz turned me on to the Match Stix (she liked the magnets too), so after swatching, I decided on the shade Amber.
Fenty describes their Match Stix as being a feather light, cream to powder formula. I absolutely agree with this except to say there is also some magic in this domed stick because it never dries out! I won’t admit how long I’ve had it, but since I only use a few swipes at a time this Skinstick has lasted ages without a single change to texture. I’m amazed! The shade Amber is definitely matte and very pigmented. One swipe along the botton of my cheekbones, under my chin and bottom lip, as well as one each along the sides of my nose, is plenty. Check out the photo below for placement.
I first tried to blend the contour stripes with a stippling brush but because it isn’t a wet formula that brush wasn’t dense enough to truly buff the product around. My fingers work ok but seem to move the foundation under it too much. I used a small, stiff blending brush for the longest time and while that technique worked, the results were a bit more natural than I had hoped. Maybe I buffed it all away? I finally took advantage of a Sigma sale and bought their F77 Chisel and Trim Contour Brush and it blends the Match Stix like a dream. Without disturbing the product underneath, this thin but dense brush helps me feather out the edges while still keeping the majority of the contour shade exactly where I want it. If you blend your contour too far down, it drags your whole face down, and if you blend it too far forward, the apples of your cheeks can look muddy. Precise application is key and this brush delivers.
I have found that Match Stix easily layer and can be built up for more pigmentation in certain areas. Because of this I’m curious to try other shades and I suspect they’d layer well too. One of the best things about the Match Stix formula is that because it has a cream to powder finish, the rules for layering cream then powder products don’t necessarily apply. If I forget and powder my face it isn’t too late to buff in contour after the fact. The last little cheat I’ve learned and love is to swipe just the smallest amount underneath my bottom lip. This doubles the volume of your pout instantly, making your bottom lip look like it’s just so full it casts a slight shadow below it. Fellow thin-lipped ladies, take note!
I will say that because the contour shade Amber is so ashy, you really do need to follow up with a bronzer to balance things out and warm up the face. Because of that I won’t say this simplifies my routine. But the packaging is tidy and convenient and offers way more product than you could ever use in the year before it technically expires. This stick was my holy grail throughout pregnancy, when I felt like my face had zero contours and was nothing more than a round ball. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about Fenty Beauty Match Stix! In fact, I’ve all but convinced myself to go right ahead and buy a few more. I noticed just now that some shades are on sale for as little as $17.50.